Brian Boyle is currently a fourth-line forward for the New York Rangers. During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 29-year-old had three goals, while only tallying six during the regular season. Head coach Alain Vigneault wants Boyle to return, but only for the same 12-14 minutes of ice time on the fourth line. Boyle, however, has said he wants more of an offensive role and could be hinting at his departure.
Boyle’s predicted contract request is at 2-3 years for $3-4 million per year. That money would be more than what teammate Mats Zuccarello made this season ($1.5 million), and he led the whole team in points. Of course, when you want $3-4 million a year in a very tight salary cap, you’d be expected to put up a decent amount of goals.
If he were to leave the Rangers, the team’s already weak center position would take a bigger hit. One of the potential replacement ideas for Boyle could be J.T. Miller or Jesper Fast and use that $3-4 million available to go after someone like Mikhail Grabovski to solve the second-line center woes.
Boyle is part of the reason why the team’s depth was so reliable down the stretch. New York had one of the strongest fourth lines in the league. He might not be dependable hitting empty nets, but Boyle’s presence on the ice is known once he skates on. One of these examples would be Dominic Moore‘s goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Boyle played behind the net and patiently set up a pass right to Moore in front of Canadiens netminder Dustin Tokarski.
It’s plays like that that help you win championships, but it appears Boyle isn’t fond of his current role. Vigneault doesn’t seem like he’ll change his mind anytime soon, so the ball is in Boyle’s court. Keep in mind the Rangers still have to make decisions to sign a lot of their other current free agents. If Boyle can find a team that will take his contract demands and give him a more offensive role, it wouldn’t be a shock if he left.